CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Firefighters battled heavy smoke and flames after a fire broke out at a dollar store in Coral Springs, Saturday afternoon.
According to the Coral Springs Fire Department, the blaze sparked in one of the aisles of the Dollar Tree located just off the corner of West Sample Road and Coral Ridge Drive, at around 12:30 p.m.
Customers inside the store quickly dialed 911 for help. “We heard loud banging. I thought it was like someone smashing a cart into the wall,” said customer Chasity Palumbaro, “but when I looked, it was flames.”
“The middle aisle was on fire,” said witness Adrian Bello, “and you just see everyone running outside.”
“We were all nervous, screaming, ‘Fire!'” said witness Gabby Palombo.
“I was told it was in the chemicals area, so it was, like, exploding,” said Palumbaro.
Crews responded to the scene and attempted to put out the flames, but officials said visibility was an issue. “The smoke was so heavy, it actually darkened the fire, so they weren’t even able to see it,” said Coral Springs Fire Division Chief Mike Moser.
The department posted video of the fire on Twitter. The footage shows firefighters low to the ground while heavy smoke poured out of the store and billowed into the sky.
“A retail store like this is always dangerous because we don’t necessarily know what’s being stored in there,” said Moser.
Luckily, no one was hurt.
To make sure the fire didn’t reignite, a drone with a heat sensor was flown overhead. Crews then performed one last safety check before heading back to the station.
Moser said that extra safety check paid off. “We were able to see on the roof a hot spot that we would not have been able to see with the naked eye,” he said.
“People could have gotten hurt,” said Palumbaro.
“I’d never experienced something like that before,” said Palombo. “I’m glad everybody was OK.”
7News cameras captured the store’s busted-out windows and what looks like merchandise scattered on the pavement near the entrance. Saturday night, that entrance was completely boarded up with plywood.
Moser said the business sustained extensive losses. “The contents of the store are severely damaged. The store may even be a complete loss,” he said. “It’s just up to the investigators to, obviously, determine that.”
The State Fire Marshal will be investigating the cause of the fire.
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